Translation Adaptation Cover Artwork: Dried vegetation - such as bark, roots, and seeds - partly framed on a wall.
Alan Menken: On Translations and Adaptations
The original Broadway cast of Sister Act - Photo by Joan Marcus
The original Broadway cast of Sister Act. Photo by Joan Marcus.

When it comes to adapting a play or a film or a book into a musical there are a number of questions I always ask myself.


1.    Will this material be enhanced by musical adaptation?

2.    Is there anything about the tone, the attitude, the time period or the world of the story that suggests an interesting and original songwriting palette?

Sign In To Access This Article

Subscribe to gain full access to The Dramatist Issue Archive.

Join and become a Dramatists Guild Member, Business Subscriber or subscribe to the magazine with an annual plan for unlimited access.

Guild Members receive our magazine as a benefit of membership!

View Options


Alan Menken
Alan Menken

’s theatre and film musicals include Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Enchanted, Tangled, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, and Disenchanted. In 2020, he earned EGOT status having won an Emmy, eleven Grammys, eight Oscars, and a Tony for Best Score.